Michael Ausiello
August 17, 2009 AT 02:49 PM EDT

If the coming season ends up being 24‘s last, don’t count on Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack reconnecting with former love Audrey (Kim Raver), who lapsed into a catatonic state at the end of season 6. Exec producer Evan Katz tells me that a series-ending story has been hatched should 24 clock out for good next May—and it doesn’t involve an Audrey-Jack reunion.

“Some of the things we’re doing this season preclude [her returning],” he says. “So I think not. She was in bad shape the last time we saw her.”

Katz says a number of “contingencies are in place” that could either tie up the series or keep it going. (Reilly had suggested that the show’s hefty budget could make another season cost-prohibitive. Another hurdle: Sutherland’s contract expires in May.) “We have a scenario that would work well [if it’s the end],” he says. “But we also have a bunch of scenarios where the show could go on in different ways…. We’re remaining flexible.”

What happens if a decision isn’t made by the time the final episode is shot in February? “That’s a great question,” says Katz. “Hopefully it’ll be clear before then.”

What say you, 24 fans? Bummed that time appears up for Jack and Audrey? Or are you too invested in Jack and Renee to care? Sound off below!

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